Trend Watch: The Next Freestanding Soaking Tubs Will Be True Vessels of Wellness

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Freestanding soaking tubs were recently identified by Luxury Property Specialists as one of the top luxury bath trends.

“Freestanding bathtubs epitomize elegance and relaxation, boasting designs and materials that range from sleek to rustic,” the Best of the Best guide declared. “These statement fixtures often serve as an artistic focal point for the room, not to mention offering an indulgent soaking experience.”

There’s just one small glitch. As synonymous with luxurious spaces as they are, freestanding tubs are not known for having wellness features integrated into them. Drop-in tubs, as well as shower spaces, have typically been the instruments for the "at-home spa" experience, delivering everything from hydrotherapy and steam to aromatherapy and chromatherapy. That reality is beginning to shift.

One American manufacturer, Hydro Systems, has been spearheading the integration of wellness systems into freestanding tubs. “Hydro Systems is currently the only manufacturer to add hydro therapies to freestanding bathtubs,” says Ashley Steinhardt, a Hydro Systems representative in sales and marketing. “We’ve always been a company that strives to accommodate our customers’ needs through customizations, so this was a natural progression.”

In 2023, they introduced the innovative Cold Plunge system to their freestanding tub line, which reduces the water temperature to 37°F. Cold water therapy for less than five minutes a day has been known to improve sleep, reduce inflammation, boost immunity and regulate hormones. “Cold Plunge is our newest innovation,” she says. “We've been selling a lot of these.”

Next followed the addition of two other hydrotherapies to their freestanding tub collection. Hydro Fusion enables longer, more comfortable soaks by keeping water heated at a constant temperature. Hydro Indulge infuses the bathwater with millions of "microbubbles" (oxygen-rich air molecules) that more deeply penetrate pores, helping to exfoliate, cleanse, heal and restore skin. “I hear from people who have been in car accidents or have skin ailments, and water therapy can be very healing for them,” Steinhardt adds.

This wasn’t Hydro Systems’ first entrée into the freestanding-tub-meets-wellness space. The company was among the first manufacturers to introduce thermal air technology into freestanding tubs more than 25 years ago. “In 1978 when my grandfather started this company with my dad, whirlpool therapy systems were only offered as drop-in tubs,” says Steinhardt. “Awareness around wellness and self-care has grown over the last few decades. We saw it really take off during the pandemic as more people wanted to practice self-care at home. At the same time, we’ve seen a dramatic turn to freestanding tubs. Many homeowners have already created their ultimate self-care sanctuaries with steam shower systems and saunas, so we thought, ‘Why not have the benefit of hydrotherapy in a pretty freestanding tub too?’ It’s the best of both worlds. We realized we could accommodate that.” 

Hydro Systems has already seen a surge in interest in freestanding tubs with integrated hydro therapies. As more homeowners look to transform their baths into personal spa sanctuaries, this niche is expected to grow. Steinhardt reveals that the company is continuing to explore new therapy options for the freestanding market. She predicts that more freestanding tubs will offer personalized wellness features in the future: “People are out in the world all day, and they want to come home to a safe space. They want to disconnect and have the ultimate in self-care, right at their fingertips whenever they need it. Now, they can have the beauty of a freestanding tub and the ultimate spa experience at home.”

Spa-Like Soaks

Three splashy freestanding tubs from Hydro Systems that double as vessels of wellness.

Marquis Tub

Photo by Shelby Bourne Photography | Design by Anne Marie Barton

Niantic Bathtub

Photo by Erika Bierman Photography | Design by Holly Viane Interiors

Alamo Tub

Photo by Kyle Santee | Design by Loyd Builders

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